Distracted Reading

Lately I find myself unable to really dig into the books I want to read. I used to be able to read in 10+ hour stretches, only moving when a body part went numb or blood sugar levels demanded a snack. But these last few months, as soon as I sit down to read my mind swarms with thoughts.

I need to do laundry. I meant to take that bag upstairs. I should take the trash out. On and on it goes. My brain circling around everything on my to-do list and no where near the book in front of me. It is frustrating and depressing. And it bleeds into my writing as well. 

Some nights I’ll sit and just stare at the books stacked up around me, wishing I could read them all simultaneously. And when I sit down to write everything I’ve been plotting and working through in my head goes, “Poof!” I look around the room at the filing that needs to be done, dusting I should do, litter boxes I could scoop, everything except my thoughts about what I sat down to write. 

Part of my problem is that I’m trying to do too many things all at once instead of allowing myself to do things in chunks each day. I miss my reading binges and have a backlog like you wouldn’t believe and I have so many story ideas I keep jotting down glimpses of, but I need to make time for pesky adulting stuff like laundry and grocery shopping. That way, when I do get to sit down and read or write for a couple hours my brain can focus… I hope.

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Random Tuesday Thoughts on Books and Writing

I spend most of the day thinking about books and writing in some shape or form. Right now 80% of my reading and writing is dedicated to grad school requirements so my TBR stacks are rapidly growing and my story ideas are stockpiling. I’m still sneaking in some personal reading on the side because I think I’d go insane otherwise. 

My soul craves all things book and story related. I yearn to one day share my own stories. I live for sharing the amazing stories I’ve read from other people. Some books I read and I can’t shut up about them, to the point I’m buying copies as gifts and contemplating going door-to-door. “Excuse me, do you have a few moments to learn about this amazing book?”

I read to get lost in another world and another life. I read to learn about writing and to learn more about myself. Reading is life to me. Writing used to be on the same level with reading until an incident in high school.

I wrote a short story to submit to our school’s literary journal. It was about a girl attempting suicide. It was based off an event from my own history years prior. In hindsight I should have written something else or talked to my teacher in advance about the subject matter because it caused some major freak outs with nearly every adult of authority at the school. 

My parents were called, I had to talk to teachers, guidance counselors, the principal, it was not fun. My English teacher informed me it was well written but could never be published because of the subject matter. In my head, I thought I was using a personal experience to write a story with enough detail to create an engaging story. Apparently, it was too realistic. That incident caused me to quit writing for a long time. I no longer trusted myself to write and I didn’t think I could trust anyone to read something I may write. 

The story ideas have never stopped. They continue to dance around in my head. Waiting. I’m finally starting to write fiction again and it feels good. I mean really good. So, be on the lookout for more posts about me reconnecting with my writing!

I’ll also be doing more book chat type recommendations. Books I’m shoving into the hands of friends and family will also be shared here because books can always use more sweet lovin’.

As always, happy reading and enjoy your day! Now go buy a book and hug a friend. 

Life with a side of books.

Grad School: Well, I put my first semester of grad school behind me last week and couldn’t be happier. I start a short summer term in ten days so my celebration will be brief as I need to start reading straightaway. Taking two condensed grad school classes while working full-time is a daunting prospect but I only need to hold on for six weeks. Both classes offer something awesome so I had to go big or go home. Many bottles of wine await me at the end of this tunnel I am entering.

Books: Something I never thought possible has happened. I have finally reached a point where I need to start exercising some semblance of self-control with my book purchasing. I am buying way more than I can possibly keep up with reading wise thanks to grad school requirements. I am not sure if I will limit it to one book a week or a month, but some kind of limitation is in the works. (I’d also like to start buying groceries and cooking at home more. Go figure, ha!)

Book tracking: I wanted to track the books I read this year more closely but have been slacking big time. I’m not sure I will try picking it back up mid-year or letting it go until next year. It is a coin toss at this point which way I will go. I like the idea of a book journal more than a simple tracking system but either way I am not going to force anything right now.

The Blog-diggity: I have been incredibly inconsistent with posting and writing but plan on working harder to post more. Mainly because I really enjoy putting my thoughts out into the ether and the interacting with fellow bloggers and bibliophiles that follows. Chatting about books is one of my favorite things in life, that will never change.

Hobbies: Whew, so many. I have not been able to pick up my camera for some time but with the abundance of hiking trails around the Chattanooga area that will change this summer. (If you are curious you can find some of my photography here on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanadubois) I am going to learn how to crochet this year, umm, at some point. Blankets for everyone come next Christmas! I also want to start cooking more so I can bring my lunch and have leftovers when I get home. Mmm, leftovers.

Life in general: I have let myself become too complacent and sedentary in the last two years or so and want to make a lot of changes. I am finally taking the time to make my priorities a priority. Grad school was one of the biggest ones. Now to tackle getting healthy. I am taking steps to shift to a more vegetarian diet. Mostly because I love veggies more than anything and have never been a huge fan of meat in general, but my overall goal is a healthy and balanced diet. I also need to make walking every day part of my routine and add a focus for fitness into the mix.

So, overall I have a lot going on but the focus is on enjoying life to the fullest and being the best me I can be. Happy reading and I look forward to chatting with you!

Exciting news about… me!

Greetings my fabulous readers ~

Life really can become a whirlwind at times with opportunities popping up when you least expect them. One such opportunity came when Luna Station Quarterly put out a call for bloggers to join their team. I filled out their application hoping but not knowing what to expect. And then I got the fateful email: “Welcome” and “Come join us!” To which I replied, “Yes!”

There were more words involved, but the basic gist is that I will have a monthly column with Luna Station Quarterly where I get to highlight and share titles from small presses, a huge passion of mine. I am not sure of all the particulars just yet for when it will start, but I will have all that information soon and will provide updates and links.

I have titled my column “Beyond the Front Tables” because I want to focus on the stories out there readers may have missed or that bookstores don’t have readily available. Discovering “new-to-me” authors is proving to be a wonderful adventure and I am reading some truly amazing tales I can’t wait to share with everyone.

So, stay tuned my fellow bibliophiles and until next time, happy reading!!

Did you miss me? Well, I missed you!

Greetings readers!

It has been way too long since I last made a post and despite my ambitious plans for maintaining a rigorous posting schedule life had other plans. Apparently moving into a new place, starting grad school, working full time, and pursuing additional opportunities (to be announced shortly) makes for a very crammed/jammed/packed/squisheded schedule.

So, I have tweaked my mentality, shifted priorities, bought a new planner (the third one for 2015 already so this one better flippin’ mesh with my brain dammit), put in a standing desk, rearranged all sorts of things, and just generally tried to get myself back on track.

And that brings me to here! The place I might have missed most of all. I have wanted a blog for so long so I could take my book shouting to a bigger stage so making sure I find time to post here will be a priority without a doubt.

I will be sharing my book reviews in the form of more “Book Chats” because I am sharing something I enjoyed and not analyzing it from a critical perspective (I do that enough in class). If I didn’t enjoy it, I won’t share it. Simple.

Highlighting short fiction and works in translation will also be a key focus for me in my posts. Having been stationed in Japan for nearly four years I feel in love with the literature and want to continue to explore East Asian literature in translation but also branch out to experience other cultures and places. I subscribe to “World Literature Today” to help me find authors and titles. I also subscribe to nearly a dozen, if not more, magazines and journals to satisfy my short fiction addition.

Instead of trying to stick to a rigid schedule of certain topics on certain days I am going to just have fun, post based on what is striking my fancy, and just generally post more frequently. So, here we go and let’s get to reading!

*Ninja smoke bomb*

UNTIL NEXT TIME!